Mike E

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since Mar 07, 2011
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Recent posts by Mike E

Well.. what level of education/experience do you think should be required? I'm sure some folks feel the three weeks is sufficient?

Maybe the forum of an Internet video conference rather than a public meeting could do something to address some of the price issue by gutting the travel costs from the tab?

And maybe a way around the mentorship period if you've already obtained enough experience pertinent to your focus and can verify through documentation, references, etc.?

I dunno though.. it doesn't make sense to me sending out new recruits armed with a three week education as the flagbearers for a fledgling movement.

What's your solution?
7 years ago
Cheers to that Paul, I think you're dead-on. And I think people get caught up in the doom and gloom of our corporate plutocracy and get depressed and apathetic.. I know that I for one have been there and I still struggle with it. I like to remind anyone who'll listen that there are a multitude of political actions you can take daily in your own life/community without ever having to give your vote of confidence to a politician.
7 years ago
I really like the "levels of certification bit".. I'd add a few more on the front end before you get to designer/teacher.

I think the 'specialized certification' is a groovy idea as well. I think in my ideal situation were I the one devising the process, you'd take the course and get the quick background info on all the general areas/climes covered (e.g. dryland, urban, temperate, etc.) like you do currently, then spend a year or two practicing under a mentor in one of these specific areas, after which you'd get your cert.
7 years ago
@Ludi: I don't really understand what you're getting at and I'd rather come to understand your position than agree to disagree. How is it that something can be copyrighted but not technically so?

Paul, the "minor ethics and sharing piece" that you refer to sarcastically (in protest, I'm sure), is precisely what I'm referring to in labeling these charlatans as idiots. Maybe, more accurately, self-serving masters of obfuscation? I think idiot was probably a bit sloppy. And regardless of what paltry breadcrumbs they scrape off the table for the NRCS to peck up, not enough people care about installing native plant-based riparian corridors on "valuable farmland" to even take advantage of the subsidies that are on offer through that agency (just to name one.. maybe a bit sloppy and general like the idiot statement, but I'd like to think you can feel what I'm getting at).
7 years ago
I think we fall short trying to put to hard science/numbers exactly what it is we humans need to get by. Sort of like when we thought we'd figured out plants only need N, P, and K to survive. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the same gent who first reckoned plants needed nitrogen from ammonia and figured we might more easily substitute a synthesized version rather than manure also first tinkered with developing baby formula (to initially disastrous results [i.e. dead babies] I might add). Same impoetus for this crap, really (human arrogance), as all the hype about -needing- animal protein to survive, calcium from milk to prevent osteoporosis, low fat foods with the fat replaced by sugar to make you thinner.. I could go on for hours. I think the best nutritional policy is to eat as varied a diet as possible. Period. And restricted of course to whole, unprocessed, unrefined, un-"enriched", unadulterated, uncontaminated foods (wherever possible). And put the earmuffs on when the "nutritionists" start talking smack in favor of the public interest groups who line their pockets.
7 years ago
Actually, it was defined and copyrighted in 1975, and so far as I can see (unless I'm lacking a pertinent update) the copyrights still stand valid without having changed ownership as of my writing this post. Assuming we're talking about the same "P word"? (permaculture)
7 years ago
Yeah, I got the impression you'd done your homework, Troy. Sometimes you just get unlucky and end up having to deal with a real asshole. I'm sorry to hear about your misfortune.
7 years ago

TheDirtSurgeon wrote:
I must be the only one who sees the positive side of that statement.  People with money can get things done.  Thus, if we wish to do more than spread ideas -- if we wish to actually terraform the planet -- then we get people with money to do it.  Am I crazy?  Because it seems pretty obvious to me.

And of course, any aspiring designers who hope to make it their bread & butter would do well to refrain from criticizing people of means.


I'm surprised your search for a qualified designer has proved fruitless.  I would have thought you were in a ripe area.  Strangely enough, there has been a conversation on another permaculture forum wherein is bemoaned the lack of work for consultants.  In your area! 

That doesn't seem to me the problem.  I could stay busy with tons of work, if I wanted to work for nothing.  (Not unique to PC design... it goes for any trade.)  The nice catch is the client with the means to implement my wild ideas. 

On a somewhat related note, I was talking to a friend the other day who manages a factory for a large company.  He's spent weeks trying to hire an engineer who understands basic ladder logic.  All the candidates look good on paper -- the right degrees, some experience, etc -- but put them to the test, and find they have no grasp of the necessary skills.  What's going on?  There are credentialed people everywhere, but skilled people seem to be in short supply.  Again, not unique to PC.

As someone suggested, you might have to put your own pieces together.  Talk to local organic growers, nurserymen, government scientists, etc. 

You probably don't want to pay Darren Doherty's fee... but take a look at his site & portfolio.  Might help.


I don't think you're crazy, and I can definitely see the positive side of the statement from the standpoint of a PC designer trying to make a living. I didn't at all criticize people of means either if you care to re-read what I said, though I'm not sure you were meaning to imply that I did.

If you know of a qualified designer in my area starving for work then by all means please refer them to me (or refer me to the forum where I can find them). And it does (lack of qualified designers) seem to me to be a large part of the problem, at least in my experience, though you seem to have had different ones. Agree to disagree I suppose.

Again, not asking for something for nothing, and I didn't mean to hit on a sore spot, seeing (or assuming rather) now you're a designer by trade. Just not impressed with what I've found on offer so far. Warren Brush's service (True Nature Design) sounds promising if I'm just judging by name recognition (though so far as I can see a comprehensive portfolio is absent from his site), but again, he's hosting the IP conference in Jordan currently and has been out of the e-mail loop for a handful of weeks now. I'd also have to wonder how much I'd be paying solely for the aforementioned name recognition factor.. but then, maybe it's been fairly earned.

I've not only talked with but worked for organic growers in our area (as well as conventional ones), as well as discussed horticulture with local plant experts, nurserymen, and old-timer farm boys. I think maybe you're right (Paul C. had mentioned it previously as well) in that I've got this Superman (or woman) fantasy in my head where I'm gonna hire on someone who is omniscient to assuage all my fears about implementing this design, when in reality that person probably doesn't exist outside of the celebrity instructors' circle (e.g. Lawton, Lancaster, Brush, et. al). Your link to the Ozzy guy with the impressive portfolio only further solidifies my point, I think. If there's this huge glut of qualified designers in my region starving for work, why link me someone's portfolio who's based out of Australia?

P.S. I didn't mean to fire you up with the, "Well, finally went and took TheDirtSurgeon's favorite advice.." bit. I think you're a sharp guy (or gal or whatever you prefer) and I enjoy your posts. I've just seen you offer that advice on multiple occasions. Maybe advocating a little for yourself while also trying to advance the profession as a whole? :wink wink nudge nudge:
7 years ago
I totally agree Ludi, like I said I think this community is a big step in the right direction, and any way of moving the ideals forward shouldn't be overlooked, whether you wanna call it permaculture or not. But the thing is, IMO, the framework Mollison and Holmgren put together all those years back is still totally viable. It's there ready to be advanced and carried forward, it's got (almost) all the right bits and pieces contained within, and, big bonus, it's already got a well-established and catchy name. I never said it wasn't possible to learn about design outside of a PDC.. on the contrary I feel I at least implied if not directly stated the opposite. But I think it'd be a shame to scrap or shy away from the P word in favor of another term just because it's copyrighted and people (myself included) have some misgivings about the PDC system of education/certification. It's just one part of a very well thought out whole that might could use a little tweaking.

H Ludi Tyler wrote:

With enough information (photos, topographical maps, etc) folks here on the board could probably jointly design quite a complete permaculture plan or evaluate an existing plan, all without needing certification or the exchange of money.

In my opinion. 

I'd echo that in its entirety minus the "probably" and "in my opinion".

Any volunteers?
7 years ago
Paul, very poignant and well put. Don't think you need the extra projection offered by climbing up on the soapbox to point out that a three week crash course shouldn't qualify someone to call themselves a certified permaculturist.. as you pointed out, it's such an all-encompassing field you'd be hard pressed to find -anyone- with a complete grasp of+practical experience pertaining to all the concepts it entails.

I would also agree/argue that the fee schedules for the courses tend to discourage lower income students from attending, which I guess makes sense being that the same issues exist in most educational institutions in our country. Ironically (or perhaps logically?) it seems the financial elite are also the most likely to patronize/benefit from PC design services (the types of people who have the extra money to throw around at things like hiring out yard and landscaping services rather than mowing/mulching/weeding themselves). Though I agree Paul that there are great opportunities for learning science applicable to permaculture within the framework of the traditional education system, I think it still leaves the issue on the table of those resources typically being restricted to those who are financially well off. I really do think the temporary solution (and a big part of the permanent solution as well) lies in free sharing of information such as that taking place here. Pardoning my French and crossing my fingers this isn't overly political, but if the fucking idiots in power would put some subsidy moneys in the right place (like transitioning from industrial to sustainable ag, teaching sustainable design whether you call it PC or not) then we could really get the ball rolling.
7 years ago